The Positive Internet Company

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One sunny afternoon in the spring of 2001 I received a phone call from Jake Jellineck who said
that he ran a web hosting company called the Positive Internet company in Ealing and would I like
to go there and explain what the Alexander technique was and how they might benefit from it. He
had suggested that I give a talk about it but I said it would be much more practical if I went and
worked on some of them. So, over a period of six weeks I went each week and worked on
everyone in the company: there were about 15 of them at that time and I gradually made my way
through them all. They found working on the chair a bit strange but really loved work on the table.
After the six weeks trial Jake said they found the work so valuable that they wanted me to come
each week for the foreseeable future. Jake told me that he had first had Alexander lessons when
he was a music student at the Yehudi Menuhin school playing the violin. I was really struck by how
he spoke about his employees. He really wanted them to benefit from the Alexander work; not just
to stop having days off due to back pain but to help them live their lives in a better way. I was really
impressed by this forward thinking approach and have to say that nothing has changed to this day.

It’s very interesting how stress due to the pressure of work and deadlines can have a big effect on
people’s psyche and energy. Often, when I start working on someone who is tense due to stress at
work they find it difficult to be in the present. All they do is think about the problem they want to
solve but they cannot find a solution. I bring them back to the present by getting them to focus on
their breathing and to be aware of the movement of their rib-cage. Gradually, as they focus on their
body, they forget about the problem they cannot solve and start to be “in the present”. It’s only
when you are aware of and in contact with your body that you can be as they say nowadays “in the
now”. After a short time they become relaxed and completely focused on their body and a lot of the
tension falls away. Their state is completely different and their mind is quiet. Very often in this state
they can think more clearly and the solution of their problem appears out of nowhere. This has
happened on a regular basis for years. When someone new joins the company they are really
surprised how working in this way can have such a big effect on them. Also, as it happened with
me, confidence builds and problems can be approached in a new positive way.

I have been working at the Positive Internet company on a regular basis for sixteen years now and
during this time none of the employees has needed time off work due to back pain. Sometimes a
new employee arrives with back-ache or pain in their neck and shoulders and it is usually just a
matter of time before it goes. It is very interesting to give Alexander lessons to people in the work
place because it can have a direct effect on how they work. I get them to sit in front of their
computer and show them how they are usually collapsing their spine as they focus on the screen.
When you become more aware of your body you can allow your back to bring you up instead of
dropping you down. One thing they changed quite quickly at Positive was to get rid of all the fancy,
reclining leather office chairs and replace them with good solid supportive steel framed chairs.
Having said all that, it is very difficult to sit in a chair for most of the day and moving around the
office occasionally is a big help.

I must say it has been a real pleasure and privilege to have been allowed to work on everybody at
the Positive Internet company for all this time.

written by Geoff Higginson